Monday, February 4, 2013
Outrage is mounting in Saudi Arabia about the case of a 5-year-old girl who died after being beaten and tortured by her father, who activists say is an Islamist preacher
Lama Al-Ghamdi was admitted to King Saud Hospital in Riyadh in March 2012 after suffering extensive injuries, including broken ribs, a crushed skull, bruising and burns. Family, activists and officials say that she died of her wounds in October 2012. Lama's mother and several high-profile activists in Saudi Arabia accuse the girl's father, Fayhan Al-Ghamdi, of committing those crimes. Saudi Arabia's Human Rights Commission, a government-backed rights group, confirmed that Al-Ghamdi has been accused of torturing his daughter and that he is on trial for crimes leading to her death. Activists say that Al-Ghamdi is an Islamist evangelist popular in Saudi Arabia for his televised appearances and for speaking on air about the rewards of repenting to Allah. Some media reports say that Al-Ghamdi was sentenced to pay blood money for Lama's death, and others say that he has been released from jail. But Mohammed Almadi, with the Human Rights Commission, said that the father has been in prison for about eight months and has been accused of the torture that led to the girl's death. Several activists and numerous local media reports say that Lama was also raped, but her mother denied that happened, despite saying that the father had burned Lama's rectum. Lama's father was also apparently concerned about the virginity of his 5-year-old daughter.